Together As One: Catching a Breath and Watching the Winds Blow

By The Rev. Don Remick, Transitional Interim Conference Minister for the Massachusetts Conference, UCC

In the midst of this season of Lent there is a calling to pause, listen and watch for the movement of the Spirit and breathe deeply the presence of God. 

In those moments my reflections wander to the movement of God’s Spirit in the last weeks and months. 

When I visited each Association Fall Meeting I talked about the current moment in the evolution and journey towards coming together into a new Conference: Together As One (TA1).   I spoke of the need in this early phase to build relationships that are based in trust and vulnerability.  And I spoke of the importance of sharing information that offers clarity and transparency around our priorities and philosophies and approaches.  And I spoke of our focus of deepening our connection to the God given vision that gives us collective identity and purpose. It is crucial to build this foundation before we step into the work of determining structures, and strategies and programs and staffing. 

That work continues.  And so much more has begun to emerge on that foundation in the last few months. 

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Super Saturday: Pictures and Videos

Pictures and videos recorded live at Super Saturday can be seen on the Massachusetts Conference Facebook page. Edited videos will be available soon.  (You do not need a Facebook account to view items on the Mass. Conference Page)

Many Voices, One Mission: Cultivating Connections

By Pam Arifian, Director of UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center

The ministry of the UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center (EJC) is all about helping people to make and cultivate connections. Through educational and advocacy programs, we help folks connect their decisions and actions with the impacts of those actions on larger environmental and social justice issues, and how we are called by God to be responsible caretakers of Creation. 
One of the activities that I enjoy facilitating with summer campers is called the “Web of Creation” and involves participants claiming roles of various species in an ecosystem, from fungus and worm to bee and flowers to fox and hawk. With lengths of string, we learn together what species are linked and how, for example, a berry plant is linked to soil community, pollinators, water and sun, and it is also linked with whatever species it supports. The result is reasonably controlled chaos as the participants get tangled in an interconnected web.

Read the full post 

Many Voices, One Mission is a regular series highlighting the ministries of the CT, MA and RI Conference of the United Church of Christ.

A Message from the Together As One Conference Ministers

The following letter was released on Friday, March 15:

Today we stand with our Muslim siblings who have experienced unspeakable violence at the attacks in Christchurch New Zealand. Our hearts break as innocent lives are taken at prayer. Lamentation and grief surround those whose lives will never be the same. We are once again reminded that hatred and evil are with us in this life and we cannot stand idly by and accept terror as the way things are in our time.

We invite your prayers for those who have died. We invite your prayers for those who witnessed this horrible violence and those who responded. We invite your prayers of solidarity with our Muslim siblings who gather at mosques across the world today to mourn those who were killed.

Let us be resolute in exercising God’s love and compassion to all of God’s children. Let us be beacons of light and hope and compassion. Let us live the love and justice of Jesus.

The Rev. Kent Siladi
Connecticut Conference Minister

The Rev. Don Remick
Massachusetts Interim Transitional Conference Minister

The Rev. Marilyn Kendrix
Rhode Island Transitional Conference Minister

Find this online, with resources from the Dept. of Homeland Security

Talking with Children After a Tragedy

By Debbie Gline-Allen, Christian Education & Youth Ministry Consultant for the MA Conference, UCC

I posted this blog ten months ago after yet another school shooting. While I wish we didn’t have to worry about our children being exposed to such violence, with the news of last week’s shootings in New Zealand I again offer these words and resource link for you to share with parents and caregivers of children. 

I long for the day when the senseless violence our children and youth see in the media (let alone those who experience it in their schools or homes) will be a distant memory. Learning of a new story of death and loss in the news is becoming so seemingly commonplace that I worry we will become complacent in our vigilance to stop it. Fortunately we see and hear advocates for child safety who speak out against gun violence and war, and I hope that these and other measures will make a difference in keeping our children safe.

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Free Webinars

The following webinars are offered free of charge to members of the Massachusetts Conference through a partnership with Practical Resources for Churches. Click title to register.  Find a complete list here
Shareability: The Keys to Leveraging Communication and Technology to Share Your Church’s Message
March 28, 7:00 – 8:00 PM
Len Wilson will explore the keys to what makes a message resonate, take root and change hearts, lives and communities.
Small Church Checkup: Assessing Your Church's Health and Creating a Treatment Plan
April 4, 7:00 - 8:00 PM

Assess whether your church is not yet big, stable, or smaller, then find options to take your small church to its next most faithful step.

Conference Events

Preparing for the Search & Call Process
March 30, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, UCC

The morning session is the UCC Profile Workshop for all clergy.  The afternoon focuses on Members-in-Discernment or others who interested in learning about the search & call process.

Church Treasurer Gathering for Metro Boston/ Northeast Area
March 30, 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
First Congregational Church, UCC, Reading, MA

Please join us for a cup of coffee and conversation that will help define your role as church treasurer and answer all those questions you might have.

Theories of Religious Education
March 30, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Centre Congregational Church, Lynnfield

A Christian Education Certification class, open to all.

How Does a Christian Manage a Bully?
April 6, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Edwards House, Framingham, MA

Claire Bamberg will look at at several key dynamics that have to be present in a system that tolerates a bully - and how to disempower both the dynamics and the offending member.

Human and Faith Development
April 6, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Edwards Church, Northampton

A Christian Education Certification class, open to all.

Day of Covenant - Specialized Ministry 2019
May 8, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Edwards House, Framingham, MA

Day of Covenant for clergy involved in specialized ministries

Environmental Justice for All! Retreat
May 17 - 19
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon CT

For youth in grades 8 - 12 to explore how faith and justice intersect, learn about current issues in environmental justice and find their talents to make change.

Application Deadline: June 3
Writer's Workshop - The Art of the Personal Essay: Make A Point. Change the World
Nov, 11 - 17
Warren Conference Center, 
Ashland, MA

With the Rev. John Hudson. Good non-fiction spiritual writing makes a point, tells a story, shares a memory, constructs an argument and always gives life to an idea.


Save the Date: The first Annual Meeting of new unified conference (Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island) will be Nov. 1 - 2, 2019, in Worcester, MA


The Rev. Mr. John Nelson leaving Church on the Hill, UCC, Lenox as Designated Term Pastor
Effective: 3/17/2019

The Rev. Dr. Peter Wells called to South Congregational Church, UCC, Springfield as Bridge Pastor
Effective: 3/3/2019



Other Events of Interest

Annual Forum to End Family Homelessness
March 24, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Trinitarian Congregational Church,  Concord, MA

Three women will share their experiences being homeless with their families at this Advocacy Network to End Family Homelessness event.

Traci Blackmon Program at Wenham Church
March 24, 1:30 PM
First Church in Wenham, MA

The Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, UCC Executive Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries, will present a program and Q&A.

Longing for Belonging
March 28 - 30, 2018
Barbara Harris Camp and Conference Center,
Greenfield, NH

Explore radical hospitality through fellowship, worship, faith formation and outreach. Participants will leave with a specific plan for how to engage the rest of the congregation in this work and how to get started.

New England Women in Ministry Association & Healthsigns Spring Retreat
April 30 - May 2
Miramar Retreat Center, Duxbury, MA

Primarily from an Eastern Christian spiritual perspective, this year’s retreat will engage three dimensions of Pascha (the Greek & Hebrew term for the Passover). 

"Generosity Transformed" Conference
 April 30 - May 3
Indianapolis, IN

Need to energize and revitalize your church’s strategies for faithful generosity? Does your church find it hard to talk about money? UCC Church Building & Loan Fund would like to make you aware of this ecumenical stewardship conference.

Simply Smiles Mission Trip - Oaxaca, Mexico
April 13 - 20
Spend a week helping the kids who live at the Simply Smiles home for children in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico

48th Annual NEAUCE Conference
April 30 - May 2
Pilgrim Pines, Swanzey, NH

Join Christian Education colleagues for worship, fellowship, and rich discussions. 

Simply Smiles Mission Trip - South Dakota
May 11 - 18
Spend at week Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation working to restore hope for a better future.

51st Annual Ecumenical Office Managers, Administrators and Secretaries Gathering
June 9 - 11
Craigville Retreat Center

We will focus on learning how to communicate effectively within our workplace as well as how to resolve conflicts.  


The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ

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